What’s that smell? Something fishy in the Harbor District

Recently, during THC’s morning constitutional, we ran out of toilet paper. We reached for our trusted #2 material for dealing with #2, and coincidentally happened to look down and actually read something in the North Coast Journal. It was some stupid article about smell that emanates from the Eureka waterfront or whatever. And, of course, the NCJ got it all wrong. It’s not from the seafood operations.

Nope – it’s coming from the operator of Coast Seafoods, none other than our very own 2nd District Harbor Commissioner Greg Dale. And it’s about damn time that Humboldt, collectively as a County, asked Greg Dale to step down as Harbor Commissioner to save himself from the embarrassment of being outed as a massive, interest-conflicted case of epic Humboldt political proportions.

Greg Dale, as both the operations manager at Coast Seafoods and the Harbor Commission, is in direct violation of literally every California law we’ve been able to find that relates to conflict of interest. And believe us, we’ve found a lot – both from our own research and the tasty tidbits of legal code pointed out to us by over 25 readers (no joke, lots of people wrote in to let us know how upset they were about Dale’s position on the Harbor Commission).

Essentially, Government Code Section 1090 prohibits any public official from being financially interested in a contract or a sale arising from or in his or her private and public capacities. Check it out in its entirety here. To top that off (since Greg Dale and his Harbor/Coast Seafoods cronies would likely try to claim an exemption from their conflict of interest because he has only a “remote interest), Government Code Section 1091 (b)(3) states that an official can’t hold a primary management position with the contracting party.

(For the adventurous reader, here’s a fascinating discussion of conflict of interest in government as it pertains to Code 1090. And here’s another, albeit shorter one, directed specifically at Dale)

Which Greg Dale does. Which means that the deal that was recently re-approved by the Harbor Commission runs the risk of being voided because of Dale’s involvement with both parties. You know that whole “government officials shouldn’t benefit from the deals they strike between private organizations they manage and the public institutions they represent” course that most of us took in way back in Government Ethics 101: Common F***ing Sense?

Yeah, well, apparently Greg Dale missed that day of school. As did the rest of the Harbor Commission. (Did we mention that one of those shady/stupid idiots is running for a Supervisor seat next year? Hi, Mr. Mike Wilson! We’re talking about you!)

So too was the legal counsel for both the Harbor Commission and Coast Seafoods, because the worst-case scenario result of all this is that Dale gets publicly disgraced and that Coast Seafoods loses its contract with the Harbor Commission. Yep, Coast Seafoods, that company that supplies oysters to, like, everywhere.

Oh yeah – and a shit ton of jobs. You’d think that whoever does all the lawyer-ing over at Coast would have told Greg that maybe being on the Harbor Commission was a bit of a problem for the economic viability of the company. Likewise, Mr. (or Mrs.) Harbor Lawyer maybe should have told the entire commission it was a threat to the economic viability of the entire frickin’ county.

Anyway, how cool is it that we have Harbor Commissioner who has – whether through an intentional plot to get money from illicit dealings, or simple ignorance – put the Harbor District in the position of potentially losing a contract that allowed them to clean up the old pulp mill site to the tune of $1.25 million? And further causing significant harm to a very valuable area employer and industry, which he also is in charge of? Yikes. Talk about a lack of foresight.

Leo Sears, whoever that frickin’ genius is, wrote to the Times-Standard about it today. And we are surprised that we haven’t heard more about it in the public sphere.

So, THC fans, here’s your homework. Take all that legal mumbo-jumbo we linked you to earlier (and did again here), print it out, and send it to Dale’s office so we can all be sure that he actually read it.

You see, if Greg just reads it and realizes he has to resign, then everything goes back to being all hunky-dory.

No Dale, no conflict, no catastrophic loss of jobs and money for the county. It’s simple.

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14 Responses to What’s that smell? Something fishy in the Harbor District

  1. Marc Delany says:

    Robert Flynt… on Arcata’s PC for 14 years.. now chair… full time employee of DANCO… who thinks this is a confict of interests, or ethics?… asked the CC for years if this is a problem… Guess its just me..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Arcatan says:

    It certainly seems like a common sense case of conflict of interest to me. I can’t see any way that Dale and the commission can avoid this disaster in the making. Anybody know what the consequences of getting caught for this are? From everything I’ve heard Coast is a great company, I’d sure hate to lose them over the stupid mistake of one of their employees and the other Commissioners. Someone who knows their management should forward them a link to this post so they can get ahead of this issue.

    Like

  3. So Hum Gal says:

    This is exactly the kind of underhanded shenanigans that Mike Wilson and his sidekick Hezakiah Allen would cook up. Hope they get called out big time!

    Like

  4. Milldoin says:

    Perhaps if we had Harbor Commissioners that represented the people of Humboldt County in stead of their own special interests, we may see good paying jobs that would support families return.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. AS says:

    OMG, this is a first, never in the history of citizens serving in appointed and elected govt positions has there EVER been anything like THIS!!!!
    okok, Ima smartass, but asking me to wade thru your link fest without you ever making the claim that he actually voted on these issues that he stands to be financially involved with?
    The LACK of such a specific claim is missing…and since it probably ought to have a flashing light on it, it shouldn’t be too hard for you to find…..cause otherwise this reads like innuendo and smear, for whatever motivation. Well, actually, the continual attempt to drag Mike Wilson into this catbox would be maybe the first place to look for motivations. As to me the anonymous smartass, I met Mike Wilson once and he snubbed me, maybe cause I’m a lot taller, and I have never met Greg Dale ever…so there.

    So maybe Dale voted on issues he should have stepped down from, you know, recused himself from voting…but I’d have to wade thru the links, and I’m lazy, it’s tiring being a smartass, so help me out here…just point out once or, oh hell, twice even where he voted on important issues where he would seem to directly benefit. Cause then we’d agree there is a problem.

    I promise to read it and be surprised either way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marc Delany says:

      Yep, someone should wade through all those records, of both Flynt and Dale.. se what’s up and report back here. They way the system works is it is self reporting…. Elected officials file a “Form 700” that lists financial interests. You can CPRA request, and check. If we don’t watch the officials, we deserve what we get. I check, I watch… everyone should.. and elected and apointed officials should hold themselves to a higher standard. I know Robert Flynt has qualms, is a nice guy, but should he work for the largest developer in the area and be chair of the Planning Commission? Even if he recuses, that’s one less vote that we need to have an unbiased team advising the CC.
      It’s 101 government, lets hope to reach the most minimal standard of open and transparent here, locally at least.

      Like

    • Milldoin says:

      Well since you did not wish to take the time to look into this, I did. According to 1090, Dale doesn’t have to have voted on anything, It doesn’t even matter if he leaves the room when it is discussed.
      I will make it very clear, the law says; While Greg Dale is on the Commission, the District Commissioners are prohibited from entering into a contract with Coast Seafoods.
      This is not a political ploy. People have been warning the Commissioners for months and they have turned a deft ear. The reason it has come to the forefront now, is the Harbor District put it on the agenda.

      Like

  6. concerned citizen says:

    I do not personally know Greg Dale, but from what I hear, he is a good man. Coast Seafoods is a west coast company which provides a lot of jobs in Humboldt and elsewhere. They also donate oysters to many good local causes. I would hate to see Greg or Coast Seafoods hurt by this. I think that if Greg resigns, it will all blow over, and no challenge will be made to the lease they just executed, or to the loan they did last year. I think the loan from Coast to the District should be repaid, so I really hope they keep this out of the courts.
    I must also mention that the rest of the commissioners, Pat Higgins, Mike Wilson, Richard Marks and Aaron Newman voted for the lease extension 4-0, despite being given all of the information in the article above before their vote. It was made very clear to them that despite the fact that Greg did not vote, that they were prohibited from entering into a contract with Coast. Only Mr Newman even asked a question to their attorney about this. I imagine that by now Mr Brisso is regretting his advice to them, that all was well. No one on this Commission ever listens to public comment, and they obviously all think that they are above the law.

    Like

  7. Sammy says:

    Per People v. Sobel 40 CalApp 3rd 1043, 1052 (1974): ” The decisional law, therefore, has not interpreted Section 1090 in a hypertechnical manner but holds that an official (or a public employee) may be convicted of violation no matter whether he actually participated personally in the execution of the questioned contract, if it is established that he had the opportunity to, and did, influence execution directly or indirectly to promote his personal interests.”

    Further, Per Thomson v. Call, 38 Cal.3d 649 (1978): ” . . . If an official is a member of a Board or Commission which executes the contract, he or she is conclusively presumed to be involved in the making of his or her agency’s contracts under their board’s jurisdiction.” “. . . (O)r the official abstains from all participation in the decision [Fraser-Yamor Agency, Inc. V. County of Del Norte 68 CalApp3d 201(1977)].

    Mr. Counsel is a nice man, and sadly, he did not do the Harbor District any favors on this one…..he should have suggested /recommended they NOT vote until this was cleared up; financial deadline be damned.

    Like

  8. Forthwrite1 says:

    And it becomes more curious as the district suddenly cancels its regular meeting. More likely it’s the Harbor District circling the wagons. No agenda was sent on Friday and while staff prepared one this week’s Harbor District meeting was cancelled today. THC may have struck a nerve and they wanted to avoid the verbal “tar, feathers and pitchforks.”

    Here is another story line…..the harbor district is a permitting agency and prepares the EIRs for the newly issued oyster leases of which Coast Seafoods plans to expand their acreage. That process has begun, follow the link:

    http://humboldtbay.org/sites/humboldtbay2.org/files/Coast%20NOP%20final%20Aug%2020%2C%202015.pdf

    Wink-wink-nod-nod, now the conflict of interest can get more conflicting instead of interesting. Gee, it’d be nice to have an insider making sure his report goes smoothly……………….. I’m not sure the smell is fish or lawsuit. What do you think Maggie Fleming?

    Like

  9. Gail O. says:

    Surely by now Greg Dale and the other commissioners have figured out that their attorney has been telling them what they want to hear, instead of telling them the law. Surely by now Greg Dale has figured out that he has a conflict which cannot be remedied by leaving the room, or by skipping meetings altogether. Surely by now he and his employers have figured out that they have a big problem, and that all contracts entered into between the Harbor District and Coast Seafoods since Greg Dale took office are in jeopardy of being declared VOID by the first Judge to get their hands on this.
    The Commissioners and others are trying to claim that this is all politics, because of the upcoming election. What brought this up now, is that the 40 year lease extension was on their last agenda. This issue has been raised repeatedly over the last year during their meetings. It is really unfortunate that their attorney, did not notice this before they executed their loan contract last year. It would have been really easy to resolve then, Greg Dale could have resigned before the law was broken.

    All of the Commissioners have broken the law by entering into contracts with Coast. Last year it was probably without knowledge. This month it was after being told precisely what the law is, publicly, before entering into their latest contract. Mike Wilson, Pat Higgins, Richard Marks, Aaron Newman and Greg Dale all need to be held accountable for this, as does their attorney.

    What I cannot figure out is, why has Greg Dale not resigned yet?

    Like

  10. Forthwrite1 says:

    When was the last time a regular meeting was cancelled at the last minute by another public agency? It seems like the attitude is to hunker down, let this blow over and back to business as usual. This is what the “good ole boy” network looks like folks. I feel sorry for the other oyster farmers who see this happening but can’t say anything for fear of reprisal.

    Like

  11. Pingback: Lee Ulansey’s unrelenting drive to become dictator of Humboldt County | Tuluwat Examiner

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